So the month of November is almost done and I have managed to complete my goal of writing a 50,000 word novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m ecstatic to have completed the task! I hit 50,000 words on Monday 27th November and managed to tie up the end of my story shortly afterwards. My final verified word count is 50,177. I really enjoyed taking part in NaNoWriMo.
Building a story
I did some initial story planning but when I sat down to start on the 1st November I had no idea where the story would take me. It’s a little crazy to think I’m now here a month later with a completed novel (it needs a LOT of editing but all in good time! Let’s celebrate the word count first!). I even have the possibility of 2 other spin off stories from characters in this book. My plan right now is to relax and enjoy Christmas but I hope to return to my story early next year to read it and start editing.
My 2017 NaNoWriMo Takeaways
I thought I’d share some NaNoWriMo Takeaways from my second NaNo win.
1 Embrace Procrastination
I am such a good procrastinator. I could win an award in it. This month I did find myself procrastinating rather than sitting down to write. Luckily I usually ended up doing something else productive when I wasn’t writing. This resulted in getting a lot of other stuff done that I’ve been putting off for a while.
Over the course of November I cleared out and moved around my little boys room. I “spring” cleaned our bedroom and the bathroom. I finally dropped off some stuff to the charity shop that had formed a pile in the corner of our bedroom. And I ordered our Christmas card and started the Christmas shopping. I found that doing these tasks and keeping my hands busy often meant I could think about my story and sometimes I was even able to figure out where I was going next.
2 Try and get a head start
I made the decision before November rolled around that I wanted to try and get ahead of myself with my wordcount. I cleared my diary as much as possible that first week in November and I aimed for 2,000 – 2,500 words a day. This meant that I had a few days grace if anything happened during the course of the month. Luckily I was able to stay ahead of the suggested word count all the way through until I finished and won NaNoWriMo on 27th November.
3 Try and meet some other NaNoWriMo’s
I was determined to be social so I joined my local region on the NaNoWriMo website and also the local group’s Facebook page. I committed to attending at least one write in and ended up attending 4. As an introvert I am not a fan of meeting new people but I used some daring to force myself to do it. I met some lovely local writers and my times at the write-in’s were probably my most productive in terms of word count. On the third write-in I managed 3300 words in just under 2 hours. I was also chuffed that attending a local write-in got me a NaNo sticker which is now proudly displayed on my laptop cover!
4 Switch it up
I often find myself being a creature of habit. Sometimes this works in my favour and other times it doesn’t! When I found myself struggling with my story I ended up switching things up a bit. Rather than write in the morning I tried the afternoons and evenings. I also tried writing in different locations – at my desk, sitting on the couch, even on my bed.
5 Use Rewards
They work for me. As a Slimming World member I already knew I loved shiny stickers and certificates. I proudly displayed the NaNoWriMo Participant image as my Facebook profile during the month and I come up with a list of rewards for writing milestone. My rewards were:
- 10k – Buy my favourite hand cream (done!)
- 20k – Order a book (to read in December)…I’ve ordered Vein of Gold which is the follow up to The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- 30k – Buy a new dress/outfit (done!)
- 40k – see Paddington 2 movie (all booked to see with a friend later this week)
- 50k – book a beauty treatment (to do!)
6 Don’t let up on the self care
I made sure to continue setting myself daily self nurturing activities throughout NaNoWriMo. Time got tighter with the added writing time so some days I scheduled shorter activities. I even used the NaNo Write in’s as my daily self nurturing activities the 4 times I attended – I knew that attending them meant I would finish my writing early that day freeing up time later.
7 Use small snippets of time
I realised this November that I don’t need hours of free time to sit down and write. I can get a decent chunk of words written in 15-20 minutes if I’m tight on time. Plus it only takes a few of those to meet my daily word count.
One day I was out most of the day and heading straight from a meeting to the school pick up – I packed up the laptop just in case I had some spare time and ended up writing for 15 minutes in the car while I waited for school to kick out! The word sprints were great for this too. You can use the timer on the website to sprint by yourself or you can join others in a sprint.
8 Leave notes/a trail for next time you sit down to write
At the end of each day I made a note of what I wanted to happen next in my story. I didn’t always know how the story was going to end but I usually had a good idea of what would happen in the next moment. This was always a great starting point the next day when I sat down to write.
About a week before I finished, the ending of the story made itself known to me. I jotted down about 500 words of a summary of the rest of the story. This became really helpful when I started getting tired and less enthusiastic.
More NaNoWriMo Takeaways might come to me when I read and edit my novel but this is a good start for now. I’m sure I’ll be glad to have these tips to read next time I decide to have a go!
Did you take part in NaNoWriMo? How did you do? Do you have any tips for participating or your own NaNoWriMo Takeaways?